Many artists have become famous for their unique style or the character they exude to the world of art.

This series explores the lives and works of influential artists throughout history

Tuesday 13 June

Carving new traditions: Pine Taiapa and the Rotorua School of Māori Arts and Crafts

Pine Taiapa is a transitional figure in Māori art history. As a student of Hone Ngatoto, one of the greatest and most prolific 19th century Ngāti Porou Papa Pine in turn taught some of the most respected 20th century artists including Sandy Adsett and Pakariki Harrison. This talk will focus on Taiapa, his history and some of his many projects as a way of looking at the Rotorua School of Māori Arts and Crafts on the one hand, and in relation to Māori art in general in the period 1930-1970.

 Dr Ngarino Ellis

Dr Ngarino Ellis (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) is a Senior Lecturer in Art History, and author of A Whakapapa of Tradition: One Hundred Years of Ngāti Porou Carving 1830-1930 (AUP, 2016). This book examined the changes undertaken in the Iwirākau tribal carving school through a discussion of the artists, patrons and projects. She is currently writing a book with Assoc-Prof Deidre Brown entitled Toi Te Mana: A History of Indigenous Art from Aotearoa New Zealand in which these ideas of change and continuum will be investigated across a wider spatial and temporal landscape.

Tuesday 20 June

What Makes Rembrandt So Special?

This illustrated talk will examine the colourful life and extensive oeuvre of the Dutch Golden Age artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669). It will demonstrate Rembrandt’s unique talents across a wide range of media and genres, pointing out areas of innovation and aspects of tradition. His talents in portraiture (including his unique body of self-portraits), landscape, history painting and still-life will all be covered, including in-depth discussions of his treatment of light, painterly texture, human expression and human body.

 Dr Erin Griffey

Erin Griffey is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Auckland. She has published widely on early modern European visual and material culture, with special interests in the Stuart court and Netherlandish art. She has published a monograph with Yale University Press as well as many articles and chapters on aspects of portraiture, collecting, material culture and gender. She is the curator of the Rembrandt Remastered New Zealand Tour, which has toured 8 cities from 2015-2017. She speaks regularly in New Zealand and has given invited lectures all over the world, including the US, UK and Australia.

Tuesday 27 June

Louise Bourgeois: contradiction is all you need

From tiny fetish cushions to room-sized environments, Louise Bourgeois made sculpture that is tricky to characterise. Her starting place was Surrealism in Paris in the 1930s but after marriage to the art historian Robert Goldwater in 1938 she moved to New York and exhibited her prints and paintings with the Abstract Expressionists. After the war she re-invented herself as a sculptor making simple carved wooden figures called Personages. She claimed that moving from two dimensions to three enabled her to materialise a “fantastic reality”. She sustained a practice for five decades until her death in 2010. According to critic Lucy Lippard, Bourgeoi’s sculptures embodied the physical lived experience of being female. Drawing constantly on her childhood for themes, Bourgeois deployed spirals, spiders, cages, medical tools, and sewn appendages to suggest aspects of femininity including motherhood. This seminar will explore the full range of the artist’s work and delve into the challenging ideas it presents.

 Associate Professor Linda Tyler 

Linda has been Director of the Centre for Art Studies at the University of Auckland since 2006. As part of Hamilton’s Mesh curatorial panel, she commissioned Lonnie Hutchinson to create the public sculpture Te Wahoroa ki te Ao Maarama – The Entrance way to the World of Enlightenment for Lake Victoria in 2013, and curated the nationally touring exhibition of the artist’s work, Black Bird in 2014. Most recently, she has curated an exhibition on the work of Anne McCahon at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery, and is working on a Philip Clairmont exhibition for the Gus Fisher Gallery in 2017.